07/17/2013 08:47 am ET Updated Sep 16, 2013

Our Sons Look Like Trayvon Too

A lot of us are trying to make sense of the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. For too many Americans, the pain of this young man's death feels like more than we can bear.

But bear it we must. The best way to honor Trayvon's memory is to channel our pain and frustration into our work to create a country where all our sons and brothers can walk the streets without fear.

We stand with our colleagues who invoked Dr. Martin Luther King's call to choose community over chaos in these trying times. Healthy communities are ones where all young people -- regardless of the color of their skin -- can walk or skip or jump down the street and not be at risk.

President Obama said that if he had a son he'd look like Trayvon. Our sons across California look like Trayvon too. Tonight in Fresno, in Oakland and in Los Angeles they'll be walking home from their summer jobs or pickup soccer games or from looking in on their grandmothers. When we look at these young men, we should see future teachers, doctors, fathers and community leaders. We should look at them with love not fear. They are the future of California. If we invest in them, they will rise to this challenge. Our future is inextricably bound to theirs. We are in this together.

Along with many partners, we have begun this work with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. I encourage you to join us as we work to help all young men live up to their God-given potential.

None of our young people are disposable. Every life is valuable.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Trayvon Martin's family. We won't forget you Trayvon.